For as long as she could remember, Canyon. thought she’d be a dancer.
Growing up in the Sierra foothills town of Nevada City, California, the girl — who in 7th grade shortened her very long name to just the first one, Canyon (and added a period, for good measure) — spent most of her time on ballet.
When she was 16, her mother took her to Manhattan. She fell in love with the city, and vowed to live there.
On her 18th birthday, in 2003, Canyon. moved to the East Village. She had a job — at Starbucks, where she’d worked while in high school — and a dancer’s dream.
But she also had health issues, which made dancing difficult. On a whim, she’d brought her mother’s guitar to the city. Canyon. filled her down time writing songs.
“I never mourned the loss of dance,” she says, looking back now in wonder. “I put all my energy into music.”
What kind of songs did she write?
“Really bad ones,” she laughs. “That’s how I processed everything. But that’s also how you get better as a songwriter.”
Slowly, her music became “less bad.” All these years later, Canyon. says, she is still honing and refining her songwriting skills. She describes her music as “chill.”
She sang at open mic sessions. “Cranky sound engineers” taught her tough but important lessons about performing.
Soon after arriving in New York, Canyon. met a model and actor named Mike Sharits. They married in 2006, and moved to Los Angeles. She got a job as a nanny for Melissa Joan Hart. Canyon. loved the work, the actress and her family.
When Melissa was moving to Westport, she described it as an “artists’ community.” Canyon. and Mike moved here too. She worked for Melissa for a few years. She now manages an apartment building downtown, and remains close to the actress.
Coming to Westport, Canyon. says, “I was expecting Ojai” — meaning the cool Southern California town.
It’s taken her nearly a decade. But finally — thanks to friends like Darcy Hicks and Lissy Newman — she’s discovering the artsy side of Westport.
One reason she did not explore Westport earlier is that she was playing at out-of-town restaurants, house shows and small festivals.
Now — with a 20-month-old son — she’s booking more local gigs. She’s played recently at Jesup Hall, Amis, The Boathouse, Tavern on Main, Rizzuto’s and the Black Duck.
The other day, Canyon. recorded her next single: “Tooth and Nail.” Next month she’ll record 4 more.
It’s taken Canyon. a while to find the arts in Westport. Now her voices echoes with many others’.
(Click here for Canyon.’s website. Hat tip: David Wilson)